There’s no sign of things slowing down as we make our way further into the festive period which means that there’s plenty to put into this week’s Brexit blogs.
The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have climbed steadily throughout the week. Both indexes were particularly buoyed by the announcement that the euro zone plans to curb its quantitative easing programme next April. This is despite profit warnings issued by outsourcing group Capita which caused shares to fall by over 14%.
On Wednesday the ONS released the latest UK Production estimates for October 2016. The statistics highlighted an unexpected 1.3% decrease on the previous month. The ONS indicated that this was largely related to downward pressure from the mining and quarrying sector.
Following strong performance last week, the pound was unable to hold onto its gains as speculation around the Supreme Court’s Brexit hearing and the lower-than-expected production estimates saw its value fall mid-week. In the past two days, the pound has made up some ground and closed at 1.18 against the Euro and 1.26 against the dollar.
This week also saw the secretary general of Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) tell the BBC that some large international banks based in London had already conducted due diligence to move operations to the French capital. Whilst this only signals that these firms are considering their post-Brexit options, it adds to worries about how Brexit could affect the City.
This week has seen a historic legal challenge set before the Supreme Court over whether the UK government has the power to serve notice of its intention to quit the EU, by activating Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, without seeking authorisation from Parliament. The four day hearing involved all 11 Supreme Court justices who heard arguments from an array of Government representatives and challengers. The hearing became necessary as Government challenged a High Court ruling made in early November that indicated that Government did not have the necessary authority. The Supreme Court’s decision on the matter is expected to be announced before the end of January 2017.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, MPs voted in favour of government plans to trigger Article 50 by March 31st 2017. The vote followed a motion tabled by Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. MPs also supported a separate Labour motion which called for Parliament to ‘properly scrutinise’ the government in its proposals for leaving the EU.
Tim Farron has come under pressure following the vote as it emerged that three of his Liberal Democrat MPs had defied his orders and voted in favour of the Government’s timetable. This undermines his positioning of the party as the only party providing ‘real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government’.
This Week at the Chambers
The Chamber has been getting into the festive spirit this with our President’s Christmas Lunch. The lunch saw a wide array of GBCC 1813 Club and Premier members come together at the Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham to hear from GBCC President Paul Kehoe.
Also on our festive agenda was the Sutton Coldfield Christmas Drinks event which was held at the Lea Marston Hotel. The events marks a fantastic year for our newest addition to the GBCC group. You can read more about the event here.
On Thursday morning our Chief Executive, Paul Faulkner, was in Burton to award certificates to 22 young people who attend weekly sessions as part of the MEDaL programme. The programme is designed to equip them with vital life skills including communication and presentation, team building and team leadership, managing projects and events, support with constructing a personal statement, writing a distinctive CV and interviewing for success.
We’ve also been putting the finishing touches to our Q4 Quarterly Business Report. The report offers an up to date snapshot of the performance of the Greater Birmingham business community and is our flagship economic publication. It is the most comprehensive regular report of its kind in the city-region. We will be launching the report at an event hosted by QBR sponsors Birmingham City University on Thursday 19th January. Please click here for more information and to book your place.
Finally, we’ve been busy working with partners to prepare a response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Clean Air Zone consultation. Birmingham was one of five cities chosen for the Clean Air Zone programme which aims to reduce air pollution and bring down nitrogen oxide levels. You can read more about the consultation here.